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The Wall Street Journal: Amazon confirms more than 18,000 layoffs, far more than originally expected

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Amazon.com Inc.’s
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layoffs will affect more than 17,000 employees, a higher number than the company initially planned and one that would represent the most reductions revealed so far at a major technology company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Seattle-based company in November said that it was beginning layoffs among its corporate workforce, with cuts concentrated on its devices business, recruiting and retail operations. At the time, the company expected the cuts would total about 10,000 people, but a person with knowledge of the issue said the number could change, The Wall Street Journal reported. Thousands of those cuts began last year.

The rest of the cuts will bring the total number of layoffs to more than 17,000 and will be made over the coming weeks, some of the people said. As of September, Amazon employed 1.5 million people, with a large percentage of them in its warehouses. The layoffs are concentrated in the company’s corporate ranks, some of the people said.

Also read: Salesforce will lay off 10% of staff as part of restructuring

Amazon was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic as customers flocked to online shopping. The rush to Amazon’s various businesses, from e-commerce to grocery and cloud-computing, pushed forward years of growth for the company. To keep up with demand, Amazon doubled its logistics network and added hundreds of thousands of employees.

When demand started to wane with customers moving back to shopping in stores, Amazon initiated a broad cost-cutting review to pare back on units that were unprofitable, the Journal reported. In the spring and summer, the company made targeted cuts to bring down costs, shutting physical stores and business units such as Amazon Care. Amazon later announced a company-wide hiring freeze before deciding to let employees go.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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